Austin Animal Hospital Offers Porcupine Incident Care

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| Source: Emergency Animal Hospital of Northwest Austin

AUSTIN, Texas, July 13, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Porcupines are becoming an increasing problem for pet owners in and around Austin, according to one Austin veterinarian. Dr. Scott I. Johnson of Emergency Animal Hospital of NW Austin wants to raise awareness about the increasing frequency of porcupine quilling incidents in and around Austin, and the risks they present for pets.

Porcupine attacks often happen at night, outside of the business hours of most veterinarians. Traditionally, says one Austin veterinarian, this fact has left pet owners with few choices to get adequate care for their pets. Dr. Scott I. Johnson of Emergency Animal Hospital of NW Austin says time is critical when treating quilling incidents, as dogs tend to push quills into their skin looking for relief, causing further damage and introducing new health risks in the process.

Dr. Johnson says the curiosity of dogs often gets the better of them when it comes to porcupines, resulting in painful consequences. "Unfortunately, the pain from the quills is the least serious of the health consequences of being quilled by a porcupine," said Dr. Johnson. He added, "That's why it's so important to raise awareness about the risks and the need for immediate treatment."

Regarding what pet owners should do if their dogs or cats have been quilled, Dr. Johnson insisted, "Bring them in to see us. Immediately." The doctor stresses that veterinarians have the tools, training, and ability to remove the quills. Veterinarians can safely remove quills readily identifiable and locate those that have broken off beneath the surface of the skin.

Dr. Johnson warns that dogs will push against the ground or other surfaces in an effort to relieve the pain of the barbed quills. This often breaks off the protrusions leaving the quills inside to do further damage, and they may begin migrating inside the body. "Once the migration begins," advised Dr. Johnson, "quills can come out anywhere. In fact, there are stories of quill migration through lungs or hearts resulting in the death of a dog. It's a serious risk that deserves serious treatment."

Most pets require anesthesia for the quill removal process. Dr. Johnson says animals risk doing further harm to themselves without anesthesia, and quills are barbed and painful to remove. The Austin veterinarian warns that it's important to bring the pet to a veterinarian rather than attempting to remove the barbs as a pet owner.

Veterinarian care for quill removal helps to reduce the pain of the removal process for pets (and their owners). It also reduces the risks of infections from undetected quills lurking beneath the surface.

Emergency Animal Hospital of NW Austin is open after hours during the week and 24 hours on weekends for porcupine quill removal and other pet emergencies. Services include ultrasound, radiology, pet surgery, oxygen therapy, and endoscopy.

Emergency Animal Hospital of NW Austin, 1-888-667-5235